Trek the Great Wall with Crohn’s & Colitis Australia

Winding its way across the north of China, from the Yellow Sea to the Gobi Desert, the Great Wall of China is one of mankind’s most impressive architectural accomplishments.

As part of this adventure, you’ll travel through history to the very heart of China’s ancient culture. Over five days, you’ll trek between mist-covered mountains, into local villages, across rolling farmlands and through dense forest.

With the support of expert guides, you’ll explore the many facets of the Great Wall, deciphering the ancient stories and poems etched into its watchtowers—every brick seeming to tell a story of war and adventure.

Trek the Great Wall China with Crohn’s & Colitis Australia

Funds raised from the Great Wall Challenge for Crohn’s & Colitis Australia will go towards the continual work of CCA.

Donations help CCA to provide research grants, raise awareness, advocate for world class therapies, offer support groups to IBD patients and family members, fund a nationwide helpline, present information forums, deliver youth programs, and much more.

CCA does not receive regular government support, and relies on grants and donations from those who understand the impact that IBD can have on a person’s quality of life.

Trek Great Wall China with Crohn’s & Colitis Australia

Dates: 6-16 October 2016
Registration fee: $770 (non-refundable)
Fundraising target: $4,000 (excludes travel)
Travel cost: $4,050 including taxes
Trip duration: 11 days
Challenge duration: 5 days
Accommodation: Twin share in 2-4 star hotels and guesthouses
Minimum age: 18 (younger ages considered on application)

THIS ADVENTURE

HAS DEPARTED

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Simon & Lauren in rainproof rickshaw
The gang at Tiananmen Square
The teams first communal meal

Day 1: Thursday 6 October 2016

It’s the first day of the Great Wall Challenge with Crohn’s & Colitis supporters. This means a long overnight flight from Australia to China, that’s an adventure in it self! After hours on the plane and minimal sleep, we arrived in Beijing. We met up with our local guide Jesse who is such a delight. She has a story for everything and everyone, and she will definitely be able to educate the team about Chinese history, traditions and culture throughout this entire adventure. The team is looking forward to it.

We’ve had a look on the teams fundraising and after a few last minute donations, their fundraising has exceeded $100,000. This is just phenomenal, what a group of inspiring human beings who have raised this amount for Crohn’s & Colitis.

Arriving in China, the weather wasn’t great but that didn’t dampen our spirits as we took a rickshaw (type of cycle typically used as transport in Asian countries) to the old central part of Beijing. A local kindly invited us to his house and we shared a cup of tea while he talked to us about the area.

After a superb lunch we went to the famous Tiananmen Square for many photo opportunities. The Chinese tourists took a few photos of us too which was fun and an interesting experience…

In the evening we went and saw an amazing acrobatics show. The final act with five motorbikes hooping inside a caged sphere certainly pushed the safety boundaries.

Everyone is excited and looking forward to tomorrow.

Tai Chi in The Park
The whole team at Heaven Temple
In front of The Forbidden City
Team Leader Natalie modelling the latest buy

Day 2: Friday 7 October 2016

Today was another day of sightseeing in Beijing. The weather turned and smiled on us today which was a pleasant surprise. With the clearer weather, we were able to see the mountains surrounding the city. With this view we wondered why people call Beijing polluted but the guides said this was a very rare view…

As you can see on the photos, we walked through the Forbidden City today where the emperor used to live. It showcased incredible buildings, immense courtyards, along with detailed carvings and paintings.

The next part of the day involved a Tai Chi lesson a la Jesse. For 20 minutes, she taught us a few new moves, and just like yesterday, some local Chinese tourists decided to watch and take photos of us. We are becoming quite a spectacle over here!

In the afternoon we visited another temple, Heaven Temple. We felt we needed a good break after a long day of sightseeing so we found ourselves a good coffee shop and did some shopping at a local flee market (where we witnesses some great bargaining skills).

Tomorrow the Great Wall adventure begins and the team can’t contain their excitement.

The team having a rest on the steep stairs
Beautiful views in the background and our happy trekkers!
A very long way down...

Day 3: Saturday 8 October 2016

It’s the teams first day on the Great Wall today.

Before stepping on to the wall in our worn in hiking boots and trekking poles, we drove past the emperor’s mausoleum – “The secret tomb of the first Chinese emperor”.

By this stage, everyone was ready to take on the adventure they have been training for for the past year. The steps were very steep as you can see on the left, but oh the views! The views of rugged mountains were just spectacular.

After a long day on the wall, everyone made it to the end safe and sound. Some arrived a little later, after the sun had set, but all with a smile on their faces.

Great effort today by the Crohn’s & Colitis team.

Stef & Katherine enjoying the views
It's a long long way...
Some of the team & the view speaks for itself

Day 4: Sunday 9 October 2016

Day two on the Great Wall was a ripper! Today we walked on sections of the wall that are relatively untouched by tourism and much of it remains unrestored. Some sections did not even have any safety rails or side walls which was a bit intimidating when you are high up. It was even scarier when we had to walk on the more narrow parts of the wall and a strong wind came along. All part of the experience though and the endless views of jagged mountains provided us with the inspiration and motivation to keep going.

Everyone put in a massive effort today and did a great job completing todays walk on the wall. We celebrated by having a few beers in a relaxing courtyard – it was the perfect cherry on top after an adventurous day. The evening continued with our talented guide Jesse teaching us calligraphy.

Can’t wait for tomorrow. Three more days of trekking the Great Wall.

We are very happy with our efforts!
Crohn's & Colitis very own Charlie's Angels
Changing the world one adventure at a time
The Great Wall keeping the rabbits out

Day 5: Monday 10 October 2016

Today was my favourite day, says Sarah Michel. Our tour guide Jessie had made us all excited this morning when she said “today is my favourite section of the wall”. We were all in for something spectacular but also very challenging.

As the Great Wall follows the mountain ridge, this meant we first had to walk up from the base of the mountain before even reaching the Wall itself. This meant a 40 minute climb uphill before reaching the highest point of this section of the Wall. This was a feat in itself so we were very proud of making it this far.

From there we followed the undulating hills along the Wall, with highlights such as a steep section called the Sky Ladder. There were so incredibly steep, we couldn’t even imagine how we would climb up or down the other side….However, with a little teamwork and lots of encouragement we were able to stand in awe at what we had achieved from the bottom of these impressive slopes.

The views today were magnificent and not picture can really capture how beautiful the scenery was. For this reason, there was always an excuse to stop, catch our breath, and take it all in.

After making it to the base again, we went to a local village and saw a demonstration of paper cutting.  This is a famous Chinese art where paper is carefully cut to make a meticulous pattern and then is painted to become a beautiful, precious artwork.

The whole gang sitting on top of the world
It's a long way to go but team spirit is high
Just a "casual" stroll on the Wall
Only a few steps to go...

Day 6: Tuesday 11 October 2016

Day four on the wall (day six in total) was a pretty amazing day that had something for everyone. There was a cable car ride, a chair lift and at the end of the day a long windy thrilling toboggan ride. Wonder what’s next?!

The walk on the wall itself was one of the hardest days with a mega stair climb of 457 steps leading up to the final tower. We could all feel the burn in our legs and it only got steeper and steeper with the final steps almost like a ladder going straight up. A number of people on the team are facing their fears of heights very often but they are doing so great pushing through.

After this hard walk, we had a few celebratory beers and wines together with a beautiful Chinese meal. We finished the evening with some dancing and foot shuttlecock (Chinese game) in the park with some of the locals. What a great day!

Smiling faces after making it to the top of this steep climb
A fresh team before the big walk
Bryce & Deb are happy to be here
It just keeps going up...

Day 7: Wednesday 12 October 2016

Our very last day of the Great Wall is over. There was a mixture of joy and sadness, as well as a sense of achievement. Team Crohn’s & Colitis has officially succeeded this adventure. We have achieved our goals. What a great bunch of heroes!

The walk today was tough with even more ridiculously steep sections. Tears were flowing and muscles were aching but the great views made it all worth it. Not only did we push through, we completely smashed it. GO TEAM!

Time for some well-deserved lunch at the top of the climb
In the background you can see the hill we conquered
In the Arts District
The pollution levels were high today so we were given masks to wear

Day 8: Thursday 13 October 2016

Our China adventure is sadly coming to an end. The good thing about it is that we soon get to see our families and friends back home and tell them all about it. We have all made lasting friendships here and become a very close group.

Today we had some free time in the morning, so most people went shopping and some took the local bus – “China is not so alien anymore” someone said. It shows it doesn’t take too long to become familiar and feel at home in a different country.

In the afternoon we went to the art district where old factories have been converted into beautiful galleries and cafes. When the night came along, it was time for a huge feast (and many drinks). We said good bye to our amazing guide Jesse, many kind words were said and tears were shed. We chatted and laughed well into the night. What a great way to end this adventure.

We are leaving China tomorrow, so we will see you soon!

Day 9: Friday 14 October 2016

Tracey Murrin asked to say a few words about the adventure, here’s her story:

Last night was the last night in Beijing, the last night of my amazing adventure, and last night with some of the bravest, most beautiful and inspirational people I have had the pleasure to meet.

After struggling with IBD for over a decade and being to hell and back, I never even dreamt I could meet such a strong and courages group of people…Maybe my son was right after all…Maybe it’s truly special people like us that are chose to carry this burden in life because we can.

This adventure has been so much more than anything I had even hoped it would be. I have seen the most supportive partners, friends and family. After all, it’s those who love and support us that get us through the hardest times. I have been able to pass on some of my knowledge and experience to help others in their journey less experienced than me.

Most of all though, I have met some amazing people who I am now proud to call family. This adventure has really been a dream come true.

Thank you Tracey for sharing those beautiful words.